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Educon 2.1 Session 3: Developing Digital Learning Spaces from Vision to Reality

I saw David Jakes last night and he encouraged me to check out some of what he and Ryan Bretag have been working on in Chicagoland with Digital Learning spaces, so I thought I'd take a look. Presentation will be here. Great image on the whole system. I hope to post it soon.
Jakes started by working the room thanking folks for being here!
Backchannel chat for the session is here.

Quote from last night:
"It's naive to think that there are problems out there that any one person can
solve."

2100 and 2600 students. 2 building district.

Push thinking and enlarge boundries of our thoughts.

KEY QUESTION: What does it mean to be well educated in the 21st Century?

Brainstorm from my group:

Critical thinking, Know how to ask the right questions collaboration, transfer of learning, not based on the tools, ("Socially constructed pedagogy"), self-motivated-owning their own learning,

Others: "critical and discerning navigators of the information sphere", know what you know and what you don't , generating good questions (Inquiry), knowing where to find the answers to any one question-plus being able to evaluate those answers, The ability to respond to a situation in the right way-To be independent you need to know when to seek advice from others., Flexible, Open-Minded

Does 21st Century need to be there? Why did they leave literacy out of there? Keeps that genie in the bottle.

2 year process discussing that question.

Goals

Take the answer to that question and design a multi-dimentional learning space to help make it happen.

Give feedback based on the "6 Hats of Thinking"

Goal: Design a System (Learning) Independent of TIME, SPACE, or PLACE

Course Learning Space: Community, Collaborative, Communication

Moodle, SLoodle, mobile tech to engage in it,

What happens to content when student leaves?

Customized (WizIQ), Content stays with the kid. Student owns it.

Student Learning Space: ePortfolio, Blog, multi-media design (Using Google Apps for this) Didn't want a blog for each class, One blog that becomes an ePortfolio!

? How do kids manage that? TAGS!! Kid could blog and tag for 2 disciplines!!! Teachers collect work through RSS in their reader.

?How do you protect the information? Walled/Open Garden

Freshman might be just published to the course, Sophomore within the district, Juniors can make the decision

Google Docs RSS fed into Moodle Course Space. They've branded their Google Accounts. Kids take it with them when they graduate.-The LIFELONG LEARNING BLUEPRINT

Bretag-We were so focused on making the course learning space the best it can be, students pushed them to the Student Learning Space. Don't overthink it! Students said, "Why can't it be our content?" (Student Leadership council, informal talks)

The Knowledge Commons-A whole school community effort Multi-Directional that wraps around the Course learning space and Student Learning Space. (Integrated WizIQ into Moodle, 1/2 hour class on on-line reading strategies can be broadcast into any classroom) Archive Everything! All Professional Development recorded and archived.

Next we broke into Edward DeBono's Six Thinking Hats Activity

Our target-Is the multi-dementional Learning Space a critical component of teaching and learning in the 21st Century?

7 to 10 minutes-ideas about the learning space balanced against our particular role.

Jakes said their probably going to embed WikiSpaces into Moodle ($1,000/year)

We were Green hat creative people-Use the tool for something they are individually passionate about.

1 week Interdisciplinary unit, teachers and students pick the tools, essential questions that give them the freedom to explore w/in the creative structure.

Now we took off our hat and were mixed up and had to share insights based on our hat.

15 minutes sharing based on our roll.

Project Based Learning is a lot of work and is a risk, and some teachers aren't willing to go there.

BUT-If the Essential Question is Standards based, it can happen!!

High School's in Pennsylvania, there is "job embeded Professional Development" where teachers get technology and then are coached in using the tech.

Our group:

  • Professional Development isn't about the tool, it's about the pedagogy
  • Focus on the people who want to learn and ignore the naysayers(Black Hats)!
  • Sustainability-Can the culture change on it's own through life long learning?
  • Are the resources going to be available to get beyond the roadblocks of infrastructure?
  • Should teachers live it, breath it, use it, before students do? (Can that happen in a safe professional development setting?) Some say yes, but if teachers haven't been reading or comenting on blogs, they can't do it effectively! We need to create a "walled-garden" for our teachers and administrators too!
  • Pay attention to learning styles and multiple intellegences.
  • Presented big picture-This is too much!! Focus on small components during implementation!
  • Permissions-How do you manage w/ some oversight, but then give students freedom to open it up over time.

As long as teachers have access to what students are producing as learners, and they have access to

The foundation of this is the Physical Learning Space!!!

How would you present this in a district?

Who would be responsible for setting up these connections? RSS, accounts, etc (NOT the Teacher!!)

Keep the methods open. Some kids might want to video blog instead of write.

The key takeaways for me are:

  • Starting with the ?
  • the overall structure
  • Learning spaces (Course, Physical, Student)
  • Knowledge Commons
  • "Walled/Open Garden
  • Life-Long Learning Blueprint
  • 6 Thinking Hat Strategy

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